Panetta recommends pay cuts for troops

| February 6, 2013

On his way out the door, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta takes a parting shot at the troops by recommending pay cuts, says CNN;

Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department’s 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of “budget uncertainties,” a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years.

Three Pentagon officials have confirmed details of the plan to CNN. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have also agreed to Panetta’s proposed pay plan. Final approval for the pay would come from Congress in the form of the 2014 budget.

Notice that the Joint Chiefs have signed on to the plot, too. This from the guy who used to spend $36,000 every weekend to spend it with his family while the people he commanded were stuck in a faraway shit hole and wouldn’t see their families for months at a time. Now he’s suddenly worried about defense spending.

Of course, it could be a ploy to make Hagel look good when he comes in and says something different. But, like I said when Panetta took the job two years ago, he was nothing but a political hatchet man for the Administration. It took them two years of “insider attacks” to finally decide to let the troops arm themselves in a war zone, and now he wants to cut their pay.

I almost typed a bunch of shit that would have had the Secret Service pounding on my door, so I’d better stop here.

Thanks to ROS for getting my blood pressure up this morning with her link.

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Military issues

Comments (62)

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  1. MDB says:

    Spent the annual salary of an E-3 to fly home every weekend. Reccomends paycuts. Nice.

  2. melle1228 says:

    I gave the benefit of the doubt when people said this administration is trying to kill the military. I figured they were just clueless, but I am really starting to get on board with that conspiracy theory now.

  3. Gravel says:

    Fuck ’em … they can come pound on my door, because I’m pretty sure I’m thinking similar thoughts. Panetta is a rat bastard that plays the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ game to the detriment of the common man (and soldier.)

  4. NHSparky says:

    E-3? Shit, I remember being an E-3 and getting a whopping $695.70/month (I know, I know, that’s a small fortune compared to back in the day, but still…)

    I have a better idea, Leon–pay military members by the hour. E-1’s start at the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour, time and a half over 40. For an E-9, we can call it $22-23/hour (same ratio of pay as now roughly). Officers start at around $14/hour and work up to $81/hour for CJCS. Then tell me service members are paid too much.

    Even if you only count working hours for folks who are deployed/underway, I know a LOT of people who’d welcome that pay scale.

  5. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    No surprise that the ruling elite has a different plan for you than for themselves.

    His spending was a necessary requirement of his position as a very important ruler, your ability to feed your family while being placed in a war zone is your problem not his. I realize a .7% difference is of minimal impact, however with every word they speak and action they take it’s clear how little this administration and its minions care about the troops they profess to hold in high esteem.

    Your actions betray you Mr. Panetta, you sir are not a good man.

  6. Isnala says:

    According to: 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, from Blue Star Families (you can download the survey link:

    The number of military families on food stamps has tripled in the last year.

    Also about 57% of Military Spouses felt that being a military spouse had a negative impact on their ability to pursue a career.

    So cutting pay, at a time with cost of living and every day necessities like bread and milk are on the rise, yeah thats not going to impact rentention…


  7. PhillyandBCEagles says:

    #4, if we were paid by the hour we’d be out of work by 0945 most days in garrison (even before the budget cuts came into play).

  8. Adirondack Patriot says:

    In support, Chuck Hegel commented: “Bleet nark faw Israel, ish kabibble, Zionists, snark doodle dee.”

    Joe Biden nodded in agreement.

    But seriously, during the debates, didn’t Obama deny allegations that he was going to cut military pay? I can’t find it online anymore.

  9. cannoncocker says:

    12 hours on, 12 hours off, every day, for 5 months straight working QRF in FOB Salerno back in late 2010 as an E-4. I would have gladly taken an hourly wage. I would be driving a Viper right now.

    Not to mention the 6 months I spent on an Artillery Firing point prior to being assigned to QRF. That was a 24/7 job.

    I heard this once, not sure where it was from, if it was a quote to be attributed to an author, etc, but I love it. “The American combat veteran is the only American who has ever seen his government at its best and at its worst, and can tell you from experience that there’s not much difference between the two.”

    I salute you Mr. Panetta. You’ll get the salute with the rest of my fingers when I get the rest of my pay.

  10. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @4 If they had to pay overtime they’d sh1t themselves.

  11. Stacy0311 says:

    has the Oxford English Dictionary updated the “Douchenozzle” entry to include his picture?

  12. PintoNag says:

    One sure way to cut defense spending without opposition is attrition. Drive the troops out of the military — literally starve them out — and sell the bases behind them.

    This administration hasn’t changed it’s tune about the military in the last four years, I don’t see them changing now.

  13. AGEFMB says:

    The sad thing is somewhere out there someone thinks this is right.

  14. DougA says:

    @4 – I’ve got to add my 2 cents as it were. I was E-5 over 2 before I brought home $500.00/month.

  15. Ex-PH2 says:

    Sparky, you got $695 a month as an E-3? That’s about what I got as PO2 in 1969, and that was with BAQ and comrats.

  16. dnice says:

    melle1228 and PintoNag are on point.

    Not much else too see that aside from Vets and current Military personnel getting screwed, the US gets more vulnerable day by day.

  17. NHSparky says:

    Someone needs to read Leon the little answer Senator Glenn gave to Senator Metzenbaum back in the day when he accused Glenn of having never had a job…

  18. Smaj says:

    It’s bad enough (but really, would you expect anything else from this hack?) that Panetta would propose this insult, but my deep scorn goes to the JCS, led by that despicable troll Dempsey, for supporting it. These men are a disgrace and unworthy to “lead” the fine men and women if our Armed Forces.

  19. NHSparky says:

    PH2–sorry, I’m a young pup. In fact, even I didn’t crack over $1000/month (when you threw in BAQ/Rats) until I went to prototype in 1988.

  20. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    Holy Saint Joseph and Sweet Mother of God … Damn it to Fu*k … Tractor Wagon Wheels Wrenches by Jesus …

    Every week it is something else …

    This is how I feel!

  21. David says:

    How much of a pay raise does Congress get? Executive branch staffers? Excuse me?

  22. docstew says:

    Just remember: the current administration said they wouldn’t balance the books on the backs of veterans and service members. Well, looks like they were half right; they sure haven’t balanced the books.

  23. Retired Warfighter says:

    This is some serious bullshit.

  24. Anonymous says:

    @8: This isn’t ‘cutting pay’ in a technical sense – one’s pay will rise, not drop. So Obama won’t have (technically) cut the pay of the troops.

    However, since it won’t rise with typical, expected rates (or inflation), the net effect is basically that of a pay cut from where things would have been.

    In short, nobody will be making fewer dollars, but people will have less purchasing power.

  25. O-4E says:

    Awww..look..Cyber Bully is back under a different name

  26. cannoncocker says:

    Again with this?

    Wow, I stuff one little Afghani kid into a howitzer tube, shove a powder charge in his ass, and let him blast off like the 4th of July, and everyone thinks I’m a baby killer….

  27. Reaperman says:

    I can see why cutting COLA would be ‘on the table’ with defense cuts hanging overhead. I can also remember being in, not having a lot of money, and wondering how the people with one income and/or children were managing to scrape by. It’s not like I was doing great either–I did all my grocery shopping at the $0.99 store. I could sure go for a COLA myself. Still making what I made in 2008.

  28. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: technically true. But the left seems to regard reducing future projected increases as a “cut” – I’ve seen them make the same claim time and again. So I guess Jonn’s just trying to get the point across using their terms of reference.

  29. Anonymous says:

    @28: No major disagreement there – I was just explaining to Adirondack how it’ll be presented. My only real nitpick would be that both sides do this, not just the left. It’s ‘political math’.

    For the record, I’m somewhat ‘left’ and view this as a cut.

  30. Hondo says:

    David: not yet publicly announced. But probably between 0.5% and nada (I’d guess nada) for Executive branch staffers and nada for Congress.

    Executive branch staffers are Federal civilian employees. This year’s “massive” 0.5% increase (if it actually happens in April; Congress has yet to approve it) will be the first pay raise for Federal civilian employees since Jan 2010. I’d guess next year’s pay raise for Federal civilian employees – if there is one – will be about that or lower as well. Frankly, I’m guessing there won’t be one.

    Congress hasn’t had a pay raise since 2009.

  31. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    Hondo … we don’t expect a thing!

  32. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: in real (e.g., purchasing power) terms, this is a cut. In terms of budget outlays, it is not. Here either argument has merit depending on the terms of reference.

    What bothers me is when plans to reduce out-year expense increases are routinely portrayed as cuts – for example, when an out-year increase in proposed overall Medicare spending 5 years out is reduced from $25 billion to $20 billion – and that is portrayed as a “cut”. In truth, that may well still be an increase in both real and budget terms. But it’s routinely portrayed as a “cut” by proponents of the program in question.

    Until you have a reasonable projection of inflation for the year in question, you have no idea if it’s a cut in real terms or not. And it is definitely NOT a cut in budgetary terms – it’s simply a smaller increase than originally planned.

    Such a reduction is kinda like what you do when your money gets tight in your home budget – you cut back a bit on what you plan to spend in the future. It may or may not be a cut in either real or dollar terms.

  33. A_Proud_Infidel says:

    I see this as an obvious sign that B. Hussein 0bama& Co. Want to get extra funding for their golf outings, vacation junkets, and whatever their folly du jour is out of our Vets’ pockets.

    Most. Scum-laden. Administration. Ever.

  34. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    “Congress hasn’t had a pay raise since 2009.”

    That’s appropriate to their output since that time as well.

  35. OldCavLt says:

    Gee. This from the same people that believe we should have split tails in the Infantry. Who knew?

    Gotta wonder how the federal, unionized civilian workforce that votes for those morons would react to this.

  36. George X. Pulikkathara says:

    What a rotten deal from POTUS Barack Obama and SecDef Leon Panetta.

    Our military gets a pay cut, but somehow we have enough money to give fighter jets and tanks to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

    How’s this? Forget our pay, just pay us in F-22 fighter jets and M-1 Abrahams tanks.

  37. Ex-PH2 says:

    Hondo’s right. I keep my grocery receipts. I can go back a year and see the changes in prices on everything. I can also see it in gas at the pump, on a day-to-day basis on Gas Buddy. It is not just seasonal changes. It is also inflation, but the COLA adjustments are not keeping pace with actual changes.

  38. FatCircles0311 says:

    140,000+ new federal government jobs not including the U.S. Postal Service. Cuts military and pay but increases by two fold the number of Americans receiving federal entitlement spending.

    That is what you get when you elect a community organizer.

  39. Richard says:

    My first Army monthly pay was cash in $20 bills on a folding table in front of the company barracks from a 2LT wearing a 45 and it was less than $130. Yeah, I’m really frickken old (and fat and ugly too).

    The economy is inflating pretty fast. The Government definition of inflation is based on the Consumer Price Index. The CPI leaves out important stuff so we have no good measure of inflation. Anyone here remember inflation during the Carter years? Inflation sucketh. If you cut Army pay, it will suck for my son (now deployed) and everyone else in whatever passes for green clothes today. Retention and readiness will suffer.

    Review what happened to the Army between 1973 and 1980. The Vietnam “peace dividend” reduced the number of available chairs – the authorized headcount. The standard to keep your chair was to be an outstanding garrison troop. Given the tooth to tail ratio, we need some good garrison people but combat arms people being the way that they are, the effect is to lose teeth. This is always a positive thing for national security. In 1970, the US ran the Son Tay mission. By the late 1970s, our military was not capable of performing that mission.

    Does anyone remember what ELSE happened on the day that Iran announced the release of the hostages after 444 days? Hint: look to see what day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. For extra credit, find Mr. Reagan’s quotes on what would happen to Iran if they didn’t release the hostages.

    A weak US military means that the world is more chaotic and unpredictable. There are so many historical examples to prove this point, it takes incredible concentration to ignore them all. Mr. Panetta and others in our administration are endowed with that skill. I hope that someone with the wisdom to comprehend the vision embodied by the US Constitution and the lessons of history will stand up and communicate that vision and those lessons to our population. That will be someone worthy to be called, “Leader!”

  40. Hondo says:

    OldCavLt: you might be surprised to hear this, but less than 1/3 of the Federal civilian workforce is a member of a union as of latest data I can find – specifically, about 31%:

    That percentage is substantially higher than the private sector, but substantially lower than state/local government (>36%).

    The myth of a “unionized Federal workforce” is largely exactly that – a myth. Over 2/3 Federal employes are not union members.

  41. Rob says:

    So, when you combine this with the story about how there will be no money for any training, equipment, reset, getting equipment back from Afghan, etc., the military is in a lot of trouble.

  42. ohio says:

    But they have money for this:
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The military is poised to extend some benefits to the same-sex partners of service members, U.S. officials said Tuesday, about 16 months after the Pentagon repealed its ban on openly gay service.
    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not made a final decision on which benefits will be included, the officials said, but the Pentagon is likely to allow same-sex partners to have access to the on-base commissary and other military subsidized stores, as well as some health and welfare programs.
    Panetta must walk a fine, legal line. While there has been increased pressure on the Pentagon to extend some benefits to same-sex partners, defense officials must be careful not to violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. The federal law forbids the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than those between a man and a woman

  43. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Okay, so I take a few days off to keep my hold of what little reamins of my sanity and I stop back to see this. I need a RangerUp video and bad.

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad Damit.

  44. Twist says:

    Air Cav, lucky for you there is one posted today.

  45. Fossg says:

    How about paycuts for politicans

  46. Anonymous says:

    #39 and others: In 1963 I got $222.30/mo as 2LT plus $47.88 for subsistence and $110 housing. Jump Pay at $110 was very sweet. Though I was rich…got a dumbass attack and bought a new Buick Wildcat. Dave Ramsey would not have been happy with me if had been alive then.

    Back to Secdef Leon: “Nothing is too good for the troops and nothing is what they’ll get!” as he heads to his weekly SAM flight home. I really do not like these people.

  47. B Woodman says:

    I had to quickly stifle myself or risk getting kicked out of work for my swearing.
    No curses are bad enough to heap upon the head of such a Panetta. . . may he drop into the Marianas Trench.

  48. SFC Holland says:

    i really get tired of hearing this stuff. How does it ever change? When are folks gonna walk a mile in our shoes? How do they sleep at night? I respect the congressmen that served alot more than those that did not, as they have some credentials at least, but honestly, the veteran or soldier is the demographic to vilify? Could it be because we know the meaning of sacrifice and selfless service more than the civilian? This breaks my heart.

  49. Anonymous says:

    @43 – (Here’s the latest installment in case you missed it.)

  50. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    3 OCT 1979 a freckled faced dumb ass enlisted the US Navy. His first pay check was E-1 under 2 at $419.40 per month. By this freckled faced dumb ass’s calculation that would be about $209.70 per pay day. My first car was a VW Sirocco which I quickly crashed into a tree after about nine beers. My second car was a 1966 Chevy Impala, V8 (that light blue gray color), 4 door, and 3 on the column. The car was friggin’ huge and the chicks digged it! The trees moved out of my way when I drove down the road after that!